A few of the newer homeschooling moms asked me how we decided which sport we were going to have the boys play and how they became so successful at it. My answer was "Well, by accident of course...that is how we come about most things in the Gerth house." Actually, we didn't really choose our sport, our sport chose us. We tried everything. Believe me, pretty much everything. Well, not Lacrosse because by the time Alex wanted to try Lacrosse, Lacrosse was not interested in having him try them...Carmel being what it is in the competitiveness realm, if you aren't good at what you do by the fourth grade, you can pretty much hang it up around here. Keep searching.
We started out with soccer because Mark's dad was a professional soccer player and we thought that might be a nice place to start. Soccer was not us. Matt enjoyed the sidelines more than the actual playing as he and a girl named Margaret could both shoot water through their front teeth at strategic angles delighting all the other five year olds to no end. Alex was not convinced for many games that the other children were not "kicking" him "on purpose" and would chase the other player down to "kick him right back," which ensued in many apologies on both our parts and Alex's. Somehow the other parents were very understanding and kind. Mark was one of the coaches, and I think he probably has the world record for most times carrying a player "onto" the field. Yes, you heard me, "onto" the field. Not "off" the field as in possible injury, but "onto" the field as in "Alex, you are going to get out there now and take your turn playing like all the other kids just as we agreed when you wanted to sign up and play soccer." We were short players that day, and no one was available to come in as a sub so each could have a turn sitting on the sidelines drinking Gatorade and shooting the breeze with other kids hanging around...Alex was not pleased. I am sure it was the first time the crowds had seen a player being carried onto the field kicking and screaming and the subsequent prone position that Alex played lying down that period and swinging his foot every now and again if something came near to him.
Maybe baseball. Matt's idea of baseball playing was visiting with Margaret out in center field and not paying a bit of attention to any balls being hit or missed. It was Dad's pitch actually and Alex had a tendency to move around quite a bit while at bat, resulting in Mark pitching to a moving hitter and often hitting said hitter with the ball, resulting in, by the third time (crowd silently looking on) Alex shouting, "Dad, don't hit me again!" The crowd roared. Since the ball field was located next to a parking lot (and Alex loves above all else looking at cars), he spent all his non-hitting (or being hit) time watching the cars come and go from the parking lot. Not for us, definitely.
Hockey...we only got as far as the ice skating lessons when we discovered that Matt liked skating, but not hockey, and Alex only wanted to play hockey because he thought the penalty box (and what one did to get into the penalty box) looked like the best fun of all. Scratch hockey.
Maybe basketball. Matt had no hand/eye coordination at all at that time, and while he could lob a ball up to the basket, I don't remember one ever actually going in. Alex possessed the triple threat: slow, can't dribble, can't shoot. Alex's height pretty much ruled out any thoughts of a basketball career had he been able to deal with the other requirements. Most of the time, the ball was at one end and Alex at the other...one game he managed to get the ball and dribble in for a shot and make it. The referee jumped for joy for him (and we didn't even know the ref...he had called so many games and remembered Alex each time as he was so very small). Afterward, the ref came up and said, "I know we refs are not supposed to cheer for the players, but I just couldn't help myself." Going nowhere.
Football...no way...both were interested in getting out there and creaming kids with tackles, but I held my best Worrying Mother ground and told them to keep searching.
Let's see...I guess that left swimming. Report to the pool, swim a 25 yard of any swim you want, and you are off and running, or rather swimming. What a deal. They were even clean when they finished each day. We found our home. Turns out they were good at swimming. We have been at it for 8 years now.
That's how we found our sport. Process of elimination: we kept at it until the sport didn't eliminate us. If I had known then what I know now about the swimming season (year round) and commitment (intense and time consuming), would we do it over again? Yes...but I might have tried a little harder to locate those Lacrosse people first...just in case.